Respect The Machine

Wait before covering the bike

When I’m done riding and I put the bike in the shed/garage, I like to cover the seat and tank with a blanket to keep dust and whatever off of my seat. If you’ve read my previous posts, you will recall at one point I had a cat that would find that the seat on my Heritage was the place to get a good nap. It was the same cat that clawed holes and scratches in the vinyl of said seat. I was victim of a bird bombing run once when the bike was outside uncovered. Since then, I always cover the seat and tank.

At the close of a recent ride, bike in the shed/garage, I did as I usually do and put the blanket over the tank, seat and pillion with no overhang. I usually wait an hour or so, but this time, I didn’t wait the hour. As I was walking away, out of the corner of my eye I saw the blanket start to slip on the pipe side of the bike and knew what would happen if it hit the hot pipes. Sadly, I didn’t get to it quick enough and although the blanket touched the rear heat shield for only about one second, that one second was long enough for the rayon/polyester/nylon/fleece/whatever blanket to leave its calling card on the rear heat shield.

Lesson learned, wait before putting the blanky on the bike.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, motorcycle friends and forums, I made a trip to Home Depot. While the other HD may not be the place you go for your motorcycle needs, it is the place to go for things like steel wool. Purchase made and 10 minutes later I’m back home and ready to attack the problem.

Tools of the goo removal trade


First is to cover all areas that are not affected by blanket goo and cover the rest of your chrome. This is just to keep drips and splatters from getting on the rest of your chromey parts. Then spray the WD-40 on a rag and wipe down the affected areas and wait about 5 minutes. Then take a pad of the medium grade wool and spray a little WD onto the wool pad and then lightly rub in a circular motion on the areas affected. Once the vast majority of the goo is removed from the part affected, move to the grade #0000 steel wool and, with more WD-40, go over the same areas until the pipe is clean of the goo.

Keep in mind, this will not be a 5 minute job. Oh, no, no, no, no. From the moment the steel wool first touched the heat shield to the moment I wiped it down with a clean rag was nearly two hours. This why it took me a weekend to do it. A little bit here and there, 15 minutes, 10 minutes. The most time I spend on it in one shot was 45 minutes to finish it up. Now you might not have it so bad and your goo problem may be smaller. If your goo is not as thick and/or cover as much of an area as mine did, it may not take you as long to clean.

Goo-less and pretty

Is it perfect? No, but it’s clean. I should have used the medium grade wool a bit less. I do have some swirl like scratches in the chrome that I hope will buff out with the #0000 grade wool. If it doesn’t I’m not going to be too concerned. It looks a lot better than it did and it didn’t cost me $114 for a new heat shield.

I’m happy with the outcome. I’m happy that it didn’t cost me a lot of cash to take care of and I’m happy that I did it myself. I like to have my bike clean and as much as I ride, that’s a full time job. I take great pride in the fact that I have a 15 year old bike that looks amazing, runs well and still gets compliments from riders and non riders.

Pride in and respect for the machine will provide you with a machine that never let you down.  Respect the machine.


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